Our Omnibus-Box. The Theatre 1885 June 1 New series 5: 309-310
(the complete "Our Omnibus-Box" section occupies pp. 304-318 of this issue)
Mr. George Grossmith, whose photograph in character
also appears in this number, is a son of the late George Grossmith, a well-known
lecturer. Mr. Grossmith, jun., was for many years a reporter in the law
courts, which he attended with a view of ultimately entering the legal
profession. Being, however, possessed of considerable musical ability,
at the suggestion of Professor Pepper he exchanged the toil of the courts
for more inviting repose afforded by the Polytechnic Institution. There,
in 1869, he made his début as a public entertainer in the
school of the late John Parry; and in the following year went on tour with
Mr. and Mrs. Howard Paul. Subsequently, Mr. Grossmith visited many hundred
of Provincial Literary and Mechanics' Institutions, in conjunction with
his father, and on his own account, giving recitations, interspersed with
songs and character sketches. In 1876-7 he produced an entertainment, with
Miss Florence Marryat, entitled "Entre Nous," for which he wrote and composed
the successful musical comedietta entitled "Cups and Saucers." It is Mr.
Grossmith's custom to give recitals at private houses, and on one of these
occasions he attracted the notice of Sir Srthur Sullivan, who persuaded
him to undertake the part of John Wellington Wells, in Messrs. Gilbert
and Sullivan's comic opera of "The Sorcerer," produced at the Opéra
Comique, on November 17, 1877, by the Comedy Opera Company, Mr. R. D'Oyly
Carte being the manager. Mr. Grossmith has since appeared in all Messrs.
Gilbert and Sullivan's operas produced at the Opéra Comique and
Savoy Theatres. His parts in these operas, and the dates of production
are as follows:— The Right Hon. Joseph Porter, K.C.B., in "H.M.S. Pinafore,"
on May 25, 1878; Major-General Stanley, in "The Pirates of Penzance," on
April 3, 1880; Reginald Bunthorne, in "Patience," on April 23, 1881; the
Lord Chancellor, in "Iolanthe," on November 25, 1882; King Gama, in "Princess
Ida," on January 5, 1884; and Ko-Ko, in "The Mikado," on March 14, 1885.
Mr. Grossmith has at various times written and composed several entertainments,
songs, and slight musical pieces, the latest of which is "The Great Tay-Kin,"
written by Mr. Arthur Law, composed by Mr. George Grossmith, and brought
out at Toole's Theatre, on April 30.
Photograph of George Grossmith.
"From a photograph taken specially for "The Theatre" by Barraud, 263, Oxford Street, W."
The Theatre 1885 June 1 New series 5: facing page 285
transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 25 November 2000